Firework chemistry: what makes the different colors? - WSIL-TV 3 Southern Illinois

Firework chemistry: what makes the different colors?

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CARTERVILLE (WSIL) -- When viewing firework displays on this Independence Day, children may find it interesting to know why fireworks are different colors. 

Fireworks were first invented during the 12th century in China, and used as a means to scare off evil spirits, but Italians were the first to invent fireworks of different colors. 

On the first anniversary of Independence Day in 1777, there were fireworks, but the colorful displays we enjoy today would not come around for another sixty years. 

Italian inventors found that by adding metal salts to fireworks, they could achieve different colors. 

The most common examples:

- Red: Strontium
- Purple: Lithium
- Orange: Calcium
- Yellow: Sodium
- Green: Barium
- Blue: Copper

While fireworks come in many different colors today, the copper chloride used to produce blue is considered to be the most difficult to make, and thus, the most uncommon color.

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